On its own anise can be overwhelming, but using just a smidgen in cooking has the same effect as adding bitters to a cocktail: It lurks in the background in the best possible way. For this classic berry pie, the slight licorice note helps bring out the floral flavors in the berries and evens out the tart and sweet extremes of the pie.
Game plan: Freezing shortening makes it easier to work with; keep some in the freezer for when you want to make this incredibly tender pie crust.
What to buy: Anise extract has a delicate licorice flavor that adds a subtle floral note when combined with the berries in this pie. It can be purchased at some grocery stores or online.
Sanding sugar is sometimes labeled pearl sugar and can be found in gourmet grocery and cooking stores. If you can’t find it, just sub in some granulated sugar.
- 1In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Toss shortening and butter in flour mixture until well coated. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut shortening and butter into dry ingredients until reduced to pea-size pieces, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- 2Drizzle 6 tablespoons ice water and lemon juice into flour mixture and mix just until dough comes together. (Add the last 2 tablespoons of ice water if necessary, but do not overwork the dough or it will become tough.)
- 3Divide dough into 2 flat disks (one slightly larger than the other). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the pie:
- 1Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack on the bottom. Place a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil on the rack.
- 2On a lightly floured surface, roll out the slightly larger disk of dough to about 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough and trim to leave a 1-1/2-inch overhang.
- 3Place berries and granulated sugar in a large bowl and stir gently until combined. Stir in lemon juice and anise extract. Sprinkle cornstarch over fruit and gently stir until combined; set aside.
- 4Roll out the remaining disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to about 11 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick.
- 5Brush the edges and the inside of the bottom crust with egg white. Add the berry mixture and place the top crust over the fruit. Trim the excess dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fold the edge of the bottom crust over the top crust and press to seal.
- 6Using your fingers or the back of a fork, crimp the dough to seal it tightly. With a sharp knife, cut 6 slits in the top crust, evenly spaced and radiating out from the center. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- 7Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet until the fruit stops bubbling, then place on a wire rack to cool completely (at least 1 hour) before cutting.